Indigenous Rights

Tribal Leaders Uniting To Fight Mining In Bristol Bay, Alaska

United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB) is the first tribally chartered consortium in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska. UTBB was founded in 2013 to unite the tribal voice by six Bristol Bay tribes and its member tribes now represent fourteen of the Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay—over half the population of the region. Their mission is to protect the lands and waters that support the traditional way of life of the indigenous people of Bristol Bay by advocating against unsustainable large-scale hard rock mines like the Pebble Mine Project.   

For the last several years UTBB has been engaged in an ongoing fight against Northern Dynasty Minerals who has been trying to push through the Pebble Mine which would be at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. Generating up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste, the mine poses a direct threat to the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiq people’s traditional way of life. It would devastate the region which provides over half of the world’s sockeye salmon and supports over 14,000 jobs. 

In 2010, UTBB and their partners petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect Bristol Bay from the risks posed by the Pebble Mine. The EPA responded by undertaking a multi-year, peer-reviewed scientific study that was subject to extensive public participation. As a result, the EPA proposed common sense protections for the Bristol Bay watershed supported by millions of Americans.

However, in the spring of 2017, the EPA under the Trump Administration took a big step backwards by reversing their previous scientifically-based proposed protections for Bristol Bay.  Now through grassroots organizing, outreach and education UTBB is fighting diligently and urgently to halt the mine in order to uphold a sustainable and just future for Bristol Bay. 

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